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‘No go signal yet for booster shots’

The National Task Force Against Covid-19 has not given the go-signal to administer booster vaccine shots of the Covid-19 jab and asked for patience as authorities try to procure more jabs.

NTF chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said yesterday that booster shots are still forbidden in the country, with only a little over 10 percent of the population fully vaccinated.

“This is still forbidden, the booster shot, considering that only a small percent of our population are fully vaccinated. Just more than 10 percent are already fully vaccinated and there are more Filipinos, more than 90 million, still working to be vaccinated. We are asking our people to be patient and we are morally obliged to wait for our turn,” Galvez said during the media briefing shortly after the arrival of 469,200 doses of the American-made Moderna vaccine at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City yesterday.

“Let the others finish their turn,” Galvez added.

He cited experts’ advice that booster shots are more effective after about nine to 12 months.

“It will be better for us to administer booster shots starting on the first quarter next year,” he said.

He reiterated that the NTF will go after “vaccine hoppers”, or those who register for vaccination in different cities in order to get more than two doses.

Of the newly-arrived Moderna vaccines, 319,200 doses were procured by the Philippine government while 150,000 were purchased by the private sector.

CLOSE COORDINATION

Galvez thanked the US government and Moderna for the continuous shipment of jabs.

“I would like to thank the US government and Moderna for allowing us to have access to these very effective vaccines. We are very thankful that Moderna has given us regular deliveries,” Galvez said.

He was joined at the airport by Claire Bea, chief of the United States Embassy’s Environment, Science, Technology, and Health unit, Dr. Maria Soledad Antonio – director of the Department of Health Bureau of International Health Cooperation, and Dr. Ariel Valencia of the DOH Procurement and Supply Chain.

Bea assured constant communication with the government to keep the regular arrival of vaccines.

“We work very closely with Moderna and the other vaccine producers in the United States to ensure that they have the capacity to meet global needs. We do understand that this pandemic is not over until the entire world is vaccinated,” Bea said.

“Our commitment has been to continue working with private companies to ensure that their access is enabled worldwide. Then, of course, we have friends here, with Secretary Galvez, from the DOH, to make sure that the lines of communication remain open to the Philippine government and vaccine manufacturers to keep those arrivals coming,” she added.

PROCURED, DONATED

A total of 4,296,060 Moderna vaccines have, so far, been delivered to the country, of which 3,000,060 doses were donated by the US government through the Covax Facility while the rest were procured.

The Philippine government and the private sector have ordered 20 million doses of Moderna.

As of Saturday, the government already administered 27,552,770 Covid vaccine doses – 15,092,332 individuals with the first dose and 12,460,438 fully vaccinated.

Of the more than 9.6 million National Capital Region residents eligible for vaccination, 41 percent were fully vaccinated.

“The 50 percent of NCR’s population is a very significant threshold because once they are vaccinated, the tendency will be for the cases to plateau or go down,” Galvez explained.

This month, Galvez said 14 million more doses will be delivered.

“In order to achieve more or less 600,000 to 700,000 jabs a day, our primary objective is to get steady supply and we have negotiated with our suppliers like Moderna, Pfizer, and other manufacturers, that we at least we have specific dates of arrival,” he said.*PNA

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